WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Nov. 9 it has charged David R. Bergstein of Hidden Hills, California, with defrauding investors.
Bergstein, a former movie producer and self-proclaimed private equity executive, allegedly used the stolen money to support an extravagant lifestyle.
The SEC argues that between 2011 and 2012, Bergstein ran a scheme that relied on a series of intricate transactions by Weston Capital Asset Management, then a registered investment adviser, with two of its unregistered hedge funds, Weston Capital Partners Master Fund II Ltd. and the Wimbledon Fund SPC Class TT Segregated Portfolio.
The scheme would allegedly defraud consumers out of millions of dollars. According to the SEC, Bergstein used the stolen funds to make purchases from a firearms dealer, an antique watch and jewelry retailer, and a bonsai tree nursery.
“The use of elaborate corporate transactions to mask old-fashioned theft of investor monies will not prevent the SEC from enforcing the federal securities laws and protecting investors,” said Andrew M. Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “Violators will be held to account no matter the artifice used to perpetrate their frauds.”